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minimalism

Budgeting

7 Helpful Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Anything

Ask yourself these 7 questions before buying something to make more intentional purchases.

After discovering minimalism a couple of years ago I have had numerous opportunities to learn how my brain ticks when it comes to consuming. In the past I used to run to sale bins and couldn’t walk away from anything that was a two for $10 special, even when I didn’t need it. I would go to the shop with my birthday money in hand looking for some random item of jewellery to spend my money on, waiting for the stores to tell me what I wanted or needed. I would look forward to Mondays when I got my weekly catalogues in my letter box and would comb a whole bundle of them each week, marking in things I would like to buy. These were the days before I discovered minimalism and realised how much time and money I was wasting on the pursuit of more.

Since then, I’ve learned that I can still buy things I want and need with a little forethought and more often then not, no buyers remorse. Minimalism won’t necessarily free you from the urge to want new things, to upgrade and replace, but it is a useful tool to help you reroute your purchasing habits into more intentional ones, with you in control not the marketers and stores who are experts at making you part with your hard earned cash! Minimalism can also also put you on the path to financial freedom a lot sooner. By all means I still go shopping and buy things, I am just not as unprepared as I used to be.

Over time I have developed some helpful questions that I can ask myself before I hand over any cash or cards. These are seven things I ask myself before making any purchases to help me make more intentional decisions. They can be applied to any purchase whether it be a new $10 shirt or a $1000 new outdoor setting.

7 Helpful Questions to ask Yourself Before Buying Anything 

1. Can I afford this? 

I’ve put this first as it really is the most important one. If you are broke then you shouldn’t be shopping so you can skip the other questions and exit the shop. If you don’t have enough money to pay your car registration or buy everything on your grocery list then you definitely shouldn’t be out or online shopping and spending money. Here are some general guidelines that you can’t afford something. Answer yes or no to the following:

  • you have credit card debt and don’t pay off  your card in full each month.
  • you are struggling to meet the minimum repayments on your credit card/s.
  • you have to lay by it or put it on afterpay and cause your budget extra stress
  • you know that by spending the money you are going to leave yourself short for essential purchases like petrol or groceries.
  • you save $0 saved and struggle to put even $50 into your savings account each week
  • you don’t have an emergency fund saved of at least $1000

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, put the items down and leave the store – you have some homework to do. When you get home cut up your credit cards if you have them (or freeze them) and go around your house and find what things you can sell to put into your emergency fund.

2. Do I need this? 

Before heading for the check out line, ask yourself do I need this or just want it? Sometimes we can convince ourselves we are buying something we need when it is really just a want. Think about whether you really need another bottle of nail polish or set of pajamas or you are just buying them because they were on special or caught your eye. Picture your drawer at home, is it overflowing with pajama sets? Do you already have 50 bottles of nail polish that you barely use? It’s okay to buy things just because we want them on occasions, we work hard and should be able to reward ourselves, the key is to make sure that those purchases are more mindful and intentional.

Forget the Joneses’

Are you looking at blowing $1200 on the latest iPhone even though yours is only a year old and functions perfectly well? Or get the latest TV to impress your friends when they come over for game nights? Stop yourself now. This is an endless cycle, with new technology coming out every single day you are never going to keep up. Forget what everyone else has and make decisions based on YOUR needs not how others perceive you. Let’s be honest, no one really cares what you do and don’t have in your home and no one wins in a game where everyone is trying to out-debt each other.

Related post: Minimalsim at Thirty: What it means to Me

3. Do I have something similar, can I borrow or buy it second hand?

Before running out and buying something brand new consider your options. Do you have something at home that you could use. If you need some new containers, maybe you could repurpose some glass jars from your pantry. Or repurpose some gift boxes instead of going out and buying new containers. If you need something for a once off project like a power tool, ask around if you can borrow one off a neighbour or family. Check local free cycle or sale sites or your local thrift store for more affordable options. If you can’t find what  you need then you can look into buying it new.

4. Do I love it? 

Before buying anything I ask myself do I love it. Is this the One? There is nothing worse then buying something similar to what you want only to realise days later there was a better one that you liked even more available. If you are about to buy something and it’s not 100% what you were looking for but 80% consider holding off on buying it and look around more for that perfect item. In time you will have a house of items you love rather than things you rushed into buying and probably won’t like for the long-term.

In the words of Derek Sivers, if it isn’t a hell yes it’s is a hell no. Find something that you love the design of, ask yourself is it comfy, does it make me feel good, do I love it enough to wear it regularly? By all means we shouldn’t become too attached to anything we have bought but we should make sure we are buying things we truly love into our homes and not just anything.

5. Does it suit my needs at this moment?

Ask yourself does this suit my needs for all types of purchases. Avoid buying an outfit that is a little too small with the intent to lose the weight. Buy what fits you today. If you are car shopping resist buying the fuel guzzling SUV if you are single and could get away with driving a small fuel efficient hatchback. If you only use your phone for text messaging and calls do you really need $1200 latest iPhone or could you get away with a much cheaper option?

6. Will I get a lot of use out of this item? 

As they say quality over quantity. Before buying an item consider the quality of the product. Maybe you are about to get a bargain on some $10 flats but will soon experience foot pain from the poor quality and bin them within a couple of months as they are worn out. Maybe you’re considering buying a new shirt but you notice the buttons are a bit uneven or the lining of the shirt is already coming undone. Before parting with your hard earned cash consider whether you should perhaps save your money and buy something a little more long lasting.

Also consider how often you will use and item. Are you going to buy a dress to wear to a wedding and never wear it again? Maybe it would be better to hire a dress instead and save yourself the money. Are you buying a pair of shoes that will only go with outfit in your wardrobe or be out of style in a few months? Leave them behind and opt for something more classic that you can get your value out of with repeated use.

Related post: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide 

7. If the item was full price would I still buy it? 

This is one I find that really cuts to the chase of a purchase and whether I am making the right decision in buying it. If you would not pay full price for an item, do you really love it and is it really the right decision to be buying it. Sometimes we are pulled into making purchase decisions by the sale price and we lose a bit of our ability to see something exclusive of the bargain that it may be.

8. Is this an impulse decision?

Sometimes even when the above questions are all a yes, we can still be making an impulse decision which is when that after shopping anxiety feeling hits and feel a pang of guilt over what we just spent. Ask yourself before handing over your card, am I making an impulse purchase or it this a well planned decision? If you walked into the store without a list for what you needed, found something randomly and are at the register you are most likely making an impulse purchase that you may regret.

Two helpful tools

Here are two tools I also use to help me make more informed purchasing decision

1. Try it on first rule

In the past one of my worst budget and clutter offenders was caused by buying clothing on impulse and in a rush. I would grab a new stripey singlet that I just couldn’t resist whilst waiting in line at the register only to take it home and realise it didn’t fit. I would see the line at the change rooms and think – Oh stuff that line, it’ll be fine. Clothing is never off in the sizing… and if it’s not the right fit I will take it back.

But I soon realised that if I didn’t take it back with the limited time frame most stores had for returns I was stuck. And of course back in those days I didn’t want to waste my hard earned cash so would throw the item in a drawer never to be worn again (makes sense right? *Ahem*).

Since those days I have implemented a new rule that has saved me a lot of wasted money and unwanted items. I simply will not buy an item of clothing unless I have tried it on first. Even recently I tried on a blouse in one size and thought, oh it’s too big but I am in a rush, I will just grab the smaller size it’ll be fine. I realised what I was about to do a, return to old habits and instead I put the item back on the rack and walked out without it.

This rule works every time and will help ensure you have a wardrobe you love rather than an overflowing one of clothes that don’t fit or make you feel great!

2. 30 day wish list

To resist impulse buys, make a plan for future purchases. Keep a list somewhere on your phone or in an excel document of all the things you would like or need. Don’t act on them for 30 days. For more costly purchases, set a price limit such as items over $100 and aim to stretch out that wait period to 3 months. In that time, think about the item and do your research. Establish do you need it, what it costs, what is the best price, what do the reviews say, what are my friends and families opinion of the brand etc. Then start savings for it so by the time the three months rolls around you will have enough money to buy it in cash! And sometimes after a week or so you will realise that you really don’t want that item anymore and save yourself some money and unwanted clutter in your home!

The great thing about this is when your birthday or Christmas rolls around if people ask you what you would like you can suggest something on your list. It will also mean so much more to you when you finally get something as you have waited for it for the past month or more rather then something you bought randomly and probably shoved in the back of your wardrobe and forgot about.

And there is no greater feeling then buying something after you have thoroughly researched it, price matched it and nabbed the best price possible, made sure it is suitable for your needs and you are paying for it in cash.

Do you have any questions that you ask yourself before buying anything? Share them in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freebies

Did you say free?

... Uh, did you say FREE?

Do you want some freebies? Who doesn’t love freebies?! 😀

Here are some handy Free Resources to help you on your journey to minimise the excess in your life, so that you can focus on the essential! Keep an eye out for more to come 🙂

Budgeting Freebies:

Your Free Wedding Budget – This will give you a start point for your wedding budget and help you keep track of your expenses paid and due as you approach your wedding day!

Cleaning Freebies:

My Favourite Home-Made Cleaning Recipes – Check out my favourite home made cleaning recipes that will clean your home beautifully without the extra chemicals!

Organising Freebies:

Freezer Inventory Worksheet – Use this to keep a record of what is in your freezer, by category so you know what you have to use up and can reduce food waste in your home as well as save money!

Get Your Free EBook!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Minimise With Me Mailing List for your free copy of my eBook “101 Ways to Save Money Whilst Still Living Awesomely”!

This will give you 101 tips to save money that won’t suck the joy out of life and will give you ideas on how to save money on things you want to like your bills!

Hope you find value in these, Minimisers!

Keep it essential,

Jess

Minimalism

Minimalism at Thirty: What it Means to Me

Check out what minimalism at thirty looks like to me

About three years ago I found myself in a bit of a slump that I will call a “quarter-life crisis”. I was approaching my thirties and wasn’t sure what the future held for me. I found myself feeling empty, lost and dispassionate. I had approached my early to mid twenties full of life, with passion and goals I knocked out one by one. Having goals gave me something to strive for, something to grow towards and gave me purpose. But achieving each one seemed to leave me feeling more empty than fulfilled.

I had achieved what I had set out to do in my twenties; completed my Accounting degree and CPA, buying our first home at 25, had a wonderful wedding and travelled around the world and yet I wasn’t sure what was missing. I was surrounded by stuff, slowly but surely cluttering up our home, and found myself feeling more stressed and struggling to keep up with my insane schedule. I couldn’t see a way out and felt powerless to change my life.

One day as I was searching for some bottoms in my pants drawer I hit pure frustration. The struggle of fitting anything more into that drawer was just too much stress for me to handle. I grabbed everything out of that drawer and threw it on my bed. Somethings had to go, this drawer situation was just getting ridiculous. As I went through my pile I came across five pairs of shorts. Mind you I had not worn any of these more than once. I couldn’t believe that I even owned five pairs of these shorts or that I didn’t even know were there. I put the unwanted items in a pile and put my newly spacious drawer back into it’s row. I didn’t know at the time that that small moment would be the start of removing over half my possessions and lead me to the path of Minimalism.

Before I knew it I started decluttering the shirt drawer and the sock drawer and moved onto the closet finding more and more items with tags attached I had completely forgotten I had even bought! With each clothing item I pulled out and donated I found that I could breathe a little easier. I’d made space where there was no space before. I could now see what I had to wear at a glance. I wanted to know what other crap we had that I could declutter and soon moved onto the kitchen drawers, pantry, fridge, linen closet. Nothing went untouched.

Something had been sparked inside me and I found myself researching as much as I could about decluttering and organisation in any spare moment I had. I soon came across the term Minimalism. I spent the next two years decluttering over 60% of our possessions and learning as much about Minimalism as I could. I couldn’t read enough about it. I read about how Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists decluttered their homes and completely changed their lifestyles of working 80 hour weeks and discovered Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist journey to a less cluttered life. Their stories made perfect sense to me. Less is more!     

Inspired by No Side Bar’s article written by Jennifer Tritt Minimalism at fifty: What it means to me and upon celebrating my 31st birthday I thought now would be a good time to reflect on what Minimalism means to me at thirty as I head into a new and exciting decade of my life. Discovering minimalism a couple of years back has changed my life in so many ways and I am so glad to have stumbled upon this lifestyle now so I can make changes for the better earlier in my life. Minimalism can be a useful tool at any age, here is how it has affected my life in a positive way at thirty.

1. It means more space in my home
I moved out of home 6 years ago at the age of 25 and as the years went by, the clutter seemed to multiply. With each birthday and Christmas that passed, more and more stuff came into our home. Not to mention the trips to Kmart, Target and IKEA, always with the temptation to bring something home that I “needed“. Of course upon arriving home I would realise that I already owned three of the same striped shirts and that my new scented candle would not fit into my already overflowing candle drawer.

After discovering minimalism I pared back about 60% or more of our possessions. We now have space. This makes life easier whether it be space to prepare our meals with a clear bench, space on our dining room table to use it if we wish to eat meals at or work at, and not having to fight our closet or drawers to fit our clean clothes in. I can’t begin to imagine how much stuff we might have accumulated over the years and the anxiety that would have brought. I have never enjoyed space more and haven’t looked back.

2. It means being content with living in a smaller home
Our first home, which was to be our stepping stone into the home buying world was a 1300 square foot home with three bedrooms, a study and one bathroom. We figured it was big enough for us for now and within our budget and knew there was always the option to up size later on when we had the financial ability to do so.

After discovering minimalism the need to up size our home for a double garage, second bathroom and more master bedroom than we had, faded. Rather than wanting to go bigger, we made room for the essential and realised the benefits of a smaller home.  I acknowledged that I didn’t need a second lounge room, more storage space or huge backyard to be happy. Minimalism at thirty has allowed me to be content in our smaller home.

3. It means becoming debt free faster
Since discovering minimalism the impact to our finances has been nothing short of amazing. After learning to appreciate what we have and limit buying things on impulse, we have reduced what we are spending. Rather than spending more, we made money – over two thousand dollars by selling unwanted knick knacks that were cluttering up our home and not adding value to us. This is money we have redirected to things or experiences that bring us value.

By being content with a smaller home we can resist the temptation to up size for something bigger and better. This will allow me to pay off my mortgage before I am 40 (or maybe sooner than that!) rather than at 55 or even later had I gone down the Jones trajectory and taken on a bigger mortgage.

By being more intentional with spending and planning ahead for purchases it means I can sleep easy knowing I am not trapped under mountains of consumer debt. My pay doesn’t go to regrettable purchases on my credit card that I can no longer remember. It can go to things I need or truly want and the things that are important to me like the roof over my head and food in the fridge.

Minimalism at thirty means I can avoid taking on unnecessary debt that would impede my future finances, happiness and opportunity to say yes to experiences and mean I can utilise my money more efficiently rather than by trying to keep up with an endless debt cycle.

4. It means I spend my money more thoughtfully and efficiently
When you know what truly adds value to your life and question each and every purchase you can save a lot of money. Thanks to minimalism I now make more educated purchasing decisions, sometimes holding off for a few months before making a decision to make sure I am spending my money in the most thoughtful and efficient way possible.

Rather than walking into a store with very little information, I ask family and friends or people in online communities for recommendations. I look up reviews, research the products available and features for what would be the most suitable for me as well as researching the price before buying any item over $100. I soon adopted this method across most of our spending as possible. We waste less as we shop with intention when we go to the grocery store and review annual bills to make sure we are getting value for money. This has really helped us save and reduce regretful, impulsive and excessive purchases.

5. It means knowing my values and putting myself first
Minimalism has shown me what my values are and how important it is to live by them. I am now much more selective with how I spend my time. I don’t dedicate large amounts of time to things I don’t enjoy or am not passionate about and spend time with friends who have similar values and who respect my choices, as I do theirs.

I used to be resentful on occasions when I had wasted my weekend doing things that other people enjoyed, or even times I thought I enjoyed them and then living with the consequences, such as staying out into the early hours and ending up sleeping away my Sunday mornings and still having to find time to clean, grocery shop and do what I wanted to with my weekend. Minimalism at thirty gave me more confidence to say yes to putting myself first even if sometimes that means disappointing others.

6. It means that I can plan to retire earlier
After discovering minimalism I discovered new lifestyles that didn’t revolve around working until you are 70 and revolving around working more to spend more. One blogger in particular is Mr Money Moustache who semi-retired with his wife at the age of 30 who is encouraging many ‘moustachians’ around the world to reach retirement age much earlier.

Through Minimalism I have reduced spending money on many areas in my life, which over time will allow me to save for the important things such as my retirement and to start thinking about that at 30, when I can take advantage of more compound interest benefits rather than an after thought as I approach the end of my working career.

7. It means I value experiences more
Now that I spend my money more efficiently and have eliminated most wasteful spending, I can spend my money guilt free on experiences that bring me joy and that I find value in. When I was younger I was a lot less willing to spend money on experiences. I didn’t place as high a value on them or travel as I did physical items. After all, why flutter your money away on a two week vacation when you could buy something for the house or some new outfits or buy something that you can keep for years, right?

Minimalism really helped me change my mindset on spending. I now see the value in experiences, not just stuff. Sure my new Dyson and Kindle are great and I find great value in them, but my honeymoon in Europe and road trip around Iceland and New Zealand have added so much joy to my life that no new TV or wardrobe ever could!

By buying less stuff and I now have the opportunity to have more experiences. I can now go out for a movie with my husband, a weekend away, or buy concert tickets and know that these things will truly add value to my life whilst creating wonderful memories with no clutter.

8. It means freeing up time and valuing my time more
A huge benefit of owning less is that I now spend less time maintaining my stuff. I have more manageable laundry, my smaller home is easier to clean and maintain, I have less stuff to organise and there is less paperwork coming into our house to take care of. All of these small changes have added up to time savings that I can dedicate to more important or fun activities.

The time savings goes further as I also reduced the time I used to spend shopping for nothing in particular. I now only shop from a list of items that I build that up over the space of a week or month and do my best to get in and out fast. And thanks to knowing when to say yes and no I’ve clawed back my weekends.

Minimalism gave me the mindfulness to walk away from the extra $100 I was earning each week at a second job so I could claim my Sundays back. I look back now and wonder how on Earth I use to rush off from where ever I was on a Sunday night to get to work, quickly shoving dinner down as fast as possible only to arrive at home wide awake at 12am with the thought of having to wake up for my full time job at 7am. Minimalism at thirty has shown me that money isn’t everything and that I am deserving of free time and time to unwind and that my decisions shouldn’t be purely based on money.

9. I live for each day, not just the weekend
Minimalism at thirty has given me the ability to enjoy every day and not just live for the weekends. I try and find happiness in everyday. I listen to an Audiobook on my commute, go for a walk occasionally at lunch and take notice of the birds or trees swaying in the breeze and feel the sun on my skin. Or catch up with a friend for a chat over a hot chocolate (I’m the 1% of the population that doesn’t drink coffee, great for the budget ;)).

When I find the time I write or play bass or sing or read a chapter of a book. Every day holds the potential for joy. Minimalism at thirty means I do my best to enjoy 365 days of the year and  not write off the majority of them as a lost opportunity because they are work days. I may not be able to go and have a beach day or a picnic, but I can certainly find endless ways to make each day enjoyable.

10. I have learned the value of growth
Through the process of eliminating the focus on buying stuff and tying my happiness to physical possessions I was able to identify what was missing in my life; personal growth and contribution.

Discovering minimalism at thirty has encouraged me to grow. I now aim to learn something new each day or more often than not, it could be a new word in my vocabulary, a new budgeting or cleaning tip, or something musical related. Even if it’s just getting a little fitter each week or doing something to improve a relationship or your own mental health. It also gave me the courage to start my own blog and to contribute to helping others live a more intentional life. Knowledge and growth adds so much to our lives and shouldn’t be undervalued.

11. I put more value in my close relationships
Minimalism has highlighted to me the importance of relationships to my happiness. It has allowed me to invest in good relationships and reassess the less good ones. When I meet with friends or family I make more of an effort to be present, to keep my phone off the table, undistracted and paying attention to what they are saying.

I try and be more positive and supportive in anything my loved ones are passionate about and try and surround myself with people who also value this and encourage me to be the best person I can be. I’ve tried to make more time for the important people in my life, whether it regular date nights with my husband, just because family lunches and recently started a new tradition of gifting experience gifts to our nephews so we can take them out for a fun occasion.

12. I’m more mindful
Minimalism at thirty has showed me how to be more mindful. When I wake up of a morning and reach for my phone I pause and leave it on airplane mode a little longer. If someone or something is causing my stress I can recognise that sooner and take action or set new boundaries for that relationship. Instead of watching TV all day I write or go for a walk with my husband. When I see the sunset on my way home, I stand outside my home looking at it for a minute or so and soak it in rather then running into my house to start my list of errands. I’m loving being more mindful and hope to get better at it 🙂

How has minimalism benefited and changed your life? Please share your experience in the comments below 🙂

Minimalism

15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018

Wanting more time and less stress? Check out these 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018!

We’re at the start of a new year and it is a great time to reassess out current lifestyle and make positive changes. One of the most common complaints from people are they don’t make enough time for themselves, or their families or to just do things they want to do. We find ourselves filling up our free time with mindless facebook scrolling, endless washing and cleaning, and doing things that we probably should have just said no to.

Make 2018 a year to remember, a year for you to work on how you can simplify your life. The start of saying no to things you don’t want to do and yes to things that you have wanted to do for too long. Take a step back and reassess what is important and what isn’t, what we want more and less of and what is adding unneccessary stress in our lives.

Here are 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life in 2018!

1. Declutter

There is no greater path to simplify your life in 2018 than through decluttering. When we remove the excess we can focus more on the essential. By removing things that do not add value to our life we help to simplify our lives. By reducing the clutter in our homes we open ourselves up to numerous benefits. We reduce; the anxiety caused by too much stuff, the amount of time we waste cleaning and maintaining our stuff, and can soon notice the financial benefits when we are more intentional with our spending. Check out these 101 Things to Declutter in Your Home Right Now to get you started!

2. Learn to say no

Don’t fill in your weeknights and weekends and leave  yourself no down time or time to reset. It’s okay to say no to people and events and put your needs first. If there is an invite to something you are really not keen to go to for whatever reason; you can’t afford it, it doesn’t sound fun to you, you really feel like if you cram one more thing into this week you are going to lost it, it’s okay to RSVP no.

3. Say yes to things you want to do

We can often get tied up doing the things we don’t want to do and the things we want to do end up falling but the wayside. Once we learn to prioritise our time better we have more time to do the things we really want to do like relax, exercise, watch a movie, learn a new instrument or read. By learning to say no more, we open up our calendar to say yes to more spontaneous things like a beach day when it’s perfect weather or hanging out with someone you just met.

4. Find joy in the small things

You don’t need to buy the latest iPhone or go on endless vacations to find joy. Don’t live for big buys and getting away when there is joy to be found in every day things. Make time to do things that bring joy in everyday and take the time to appreciate them. It could be playing a game with your kids, watching an interesting documentary, having a hot chocolate and smelling a yummy candle on a relaxing night at home in front of the TV. When we learn to find joy in the little things we can simplify our lives and learn to appreciate the small things.

5. Remove and minimise toxic relationships

Toxic relationships add drama and stress to our everyday lives. They can consume us, take our focus off our goals and hold us back. Joshua Fields Milburn from The Minimalists in his blog titled ‘Fake’ says ‘you can’t change the people around you but you can change the people around you’.  You can read it here. This really is the crux of our relationships, we can’t change people in our lives but we can change who we keep close to us.

Sometimes we need to remove or minimise contact with people in our lives, even if only temporarily, that take away from our happiness or that are toxic and detrimental to our well being. When we remove people that take our energy and bring us down we can remove an unnecessary barrier to our unhappiness and lead lives of positivity and growth. Sometimes even a simple conversation about new boundaries and expectations can redirect a toxic relationship into a more healthy one.

6. Read more

Who ever said I wish I had less time to read? Reading is a rewarding way to destress, learn new things, unwind and get lost in a book. When we make time to read, we are making time to sit down, stopping all other distractions and focus on one activity that will aid you to simplify your life in 2018.

7. Spend less time on social media

A lot of time can be freed up by spending less times on social media and on our phones. You probably don’t even realise how much time you are losing on it. Make a conscious decision to use social media less. You may consider deleting the apps on your phone for a small period of time, but if that is too scary to consider, try timing your use. Limit yourself to your tea break only or putting your phone away at a particular time each night. When you have important things to do put your phone on flight mode or hide it in a drawer so it is out of sight out of mind.

8. Simplify your wardrobe

Simplify your wardrobe and identify what you feel clothes are truly you. Be honest with yourself about what you will and won’t wear. Don’t be afraid to let go of items you no longer need, you can always replace them with more suitable and loved pieces. When we limit our overflowing wardrobes we reduce the stress we encounter with picking an outfit before running out the door. Give your morning self a break adopt a capsule wardrobe and simplify your life in 2018.

9. Eat less and be more mindful with food

I have been extremely guilty of this this past year of not watching my food consumption as much as I should have been. With You Tube, TV, Netflix, Messenger Chats and all other distractions we can sometimes find ourselves not even aware of how much we are eating. Simplify your life in 2018 by being more mindful of what food you are eating and how much of it. Take your time eating. Acknowledge whether you are full and stop eating if you are and try and take not of whether you are just eating out of boredom.

10. Reduce Stress

Identify things that cause stress and aim to minimise or eliminate them. Is your work a toxic environment? Consider changing jobs. Is your housework overwhelming you? Consider hiring a cleaner to come out and take the load off you. Is going out all weekend not allowing you the time to reset and unwind after the work week? Limit your outings on the weekend to one or two so that you have time to catch up on things at home and to relax. Pay attention to the signs. If your heart rate elevated? Is breathing difficult? Do you feel overwhelmed and like you can’t stop worrying about things. If things are not something you can solve on your own ask for help. An outsiders point of view can help you to see the issues that might be causing you stress but aren’t so obvious to you.

11. Limit your exposure to advertising

There is nothing more meaningless than spending your time watching ad after ad. Find ways to limit this and simplify your life in 2018. Some examples I employ are arriving at the cinemas later so I skip the ads (I do enjoy watching the upcoming movie trailers though!). Sign up for Spotify membership and listen to your favourite music without the ad interruptions. Reduce watching TV or stick to ad free streaming services such as Netflix. Be more selective of magazines that you buy as a large portion of them are just advertising.

12. Unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions

Having an overflowing inbox with unopened email after unopened email can be soul destroying. Simplify your life in 2018 by eliminating unnecessary subscriptions from your inbox. Simply unsubscribe from each email as they come in if you feel that that do not add value and are cluttering up your inbox. Not only will this save you potential money when you are no longer bombarded with sale after sale notification, but will save you valueable time opening excess emails and managing them in your inbox.

13. Automate your finances 

Take the stress out of budgeting and managing your finances and simplify your life in 2018 by automating your finances. Remove any temptation to spend all your pay check by paying yourself first and saving from the get go with little thought or pain. Once you get used to your new savings transfers you will adapt to your new spending allowance and not feel like you are depriving yourself. With each pay it will get easier!

You’ll also save yourself the work of doing the transfers manually each pay and get the joy of watching your savings account grow over time! Take this a step further and set your main bills to be direct debited where possible to save you time making payments. Just confirm they were deducted and save yourself the hassle of making those monthly payment manually!

Related Article: Check out How I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism 

14. Limit your mail

With a simple phone call you can get all your bills emailed to you and skip the hassle of sorting through mail each week. This will not only eliminate having to go through your mail but also avoid that pile up of bills that is inevitable. You can also set up automatic filters based on keywords in you gmail account that will digitally file your bills for you, not need to do any physical filing at home! Simplify your life in 2018 further by limiting time wasted on collecting junk mail by sticking up a no junk mail sign on your letter box. If you really need something you can quick google it to find the best prices!

15. Pack less when travelling

As someone who travels a few times a year this has really saved my own sanity. In the past I would have packed 23kg of luggage to the brim plus carry on assuming I would need more than I really did. The next time you travel pack minimally. It will mean less frustration at the airport and commuting with your luggage weight less, less stress worrying about getting things to fit in your suitcase on travel days, or fitting things into your car, it’ll be easier to find things in your bag as you need them and you will save money on baggage fees is you are flying!

What changes have you implemented  to help you simplify your life? What do you want to do to simplify your life in 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budgeting

40 Frugal Ideas to Have Fun These Holidays

Being on holidays doesn't mean that you have to choose between fun our your budget goals. Check out these 40 Frugal Ideas to have fun on your holidays! Photo: Vicko Mozara (Unsplash)

With the holidays approaching it can be a great time of year to plan all those fun activities you’ve been wanting to do. Those ones you keep putting off because you didn’t have the time or money. Sometimes, maybe even the energy. Don’t let your holidays disappear before your eyes without feeling like you made the most of them. I’ve found that in the past, even when I’ve have a free day, it can be hard to think of fun things to do that won’t take up an entire weeks entertainment budget. All you need is a little creative thinking, you don’t have to make a choice between fun and your budget goals!

Being on a budget should not impede you from enjoying your break and having fun. When you put your mind to it, there are really a huge list of things that you can do for fun over the holidays, and they can certainly be done without spending a lot of cash! Plan ahead and rethink your entertainment options, they really are unlimited.

If you have particular interests not mentioned, this list could be even longer! Here are 40 Frugal Ideas to Have Fun These Holidays to get your started! Most of these are free or can be done with very little cost. 🙂

  1. Have a Movie marathon day/night. Select a theme such as 80s movies, or your favourite actors films. Invite friends or family over and have a poll on what to watch. 
  2. Sit down with a partner or friend and listen to an album from start to finish reading over the lyrics. In today’s world of Spotify, Netflix and Social Media, this activity really does get pushed to the back burner. 
  3. Go star gazing. Go on a road trip out of the city and watch the night sky. 
  4. Colour. Grab an adult colouring book and some pencils and get colouring. 
  5. Read a book. Start a new book or read an old favourite. 
  6. Start to learn an instrument or if you already play one, learn a new song. Learning one with a friend – even better.
  7. Cook a nice meal or learn a completely new recipe.
  8. Bake dessert or a cake. Make something special like creme brulee or waffles. 
  9. Play a video game – if you’ve got your old Wii or N64 crack it out. Invite a friend or two over. 
  10. Invite friends over for a board game night. Ask your friends to bring over one game each. Ideas include Chess, Pictionary, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity or Uno. 
  11. Watch a documentary about a topic you are passionate about. There are stacks on Netflix to choose from.
  12. Watch a stand up comedy show, again there are heaps on  Netflix. Or better yet find a free comedy night in your city.
  13. Binge watch a new TV show that you’ve been dying to watch. 
  14. Have a picnic.
  15. Go for a walk. Drive to a new area for a change of scenery.
  16. Go out for coffee with a friend or relative.
  17. Do something artistic; draw, paint, or get crafty.
  18. Write something a poem, short story, or try your hand at writing song lyrics.
  19. Go to a local BBQ area with friends. Bring some sporting equipment and have a few games. 
  20. Attend a free local event or festival.
  21. Check out the library and read some new books.
  22. Go to a free Museum or Art Gallery you’ve been wanting to go to for ages.
  23. Take a drive to a national park for a hike or bush walk.
  24. Grab the bikes and go for a ride with your partner or friend. 
  25. Swim at the local pools or go explore a new beach. Don’t forget to check out the rock pools!  
  26. Hire a kayak for an hour and explore on water whilst getting some sun and exercise.
  27. If it’s a hot day, have a water fight. Hit up your local Kmart or cheap shop for water guns or water bombs. 
  28. Find a local pool-hall and play a few games.
  29. Check out online event guides for free (or affordable) gigs.
  30. Invite friends over for a cocktail party. Get everyone to bring a bottle of alcohol and juice/soft drinks so you can make a few different drinks.
  31. Go to a botanic garden and explore the different gardens.
  32. Take a trip to the city and bring your camera. Take photos.
  33. Try and find cool cinema playing some unique movies. A foreign film, premiere film or old fave.
  34. Check out Things To Do on Trip Advisor in your city and do what you haven’t done yet.
  35. Go camping for the weekend. Or camp in the backyard.
  36. Go to a Drive in Movie.
  37. Redecorate your home. Shop your home for decor items to freshen up your home. Bring out a new quilt cover and sheet sets, put a new photo in your frames, put on a nice smelling candle and swap your decor items around.
  38. Have a pamper night. Get in your favourite robe, make a DIY face mask & put a hair treatment in. Run a warm bath with some candles and chill out music.
  39. Teach yourself a new skill you’ve always wanted to learn. How to sew, sing, dance, take photos. Look up videos on YouTube and start learning!
  40. If you’re feeling extra motivated, get organised. Declutter the items in your home that you no longer need. Scan any old photos, or cards you want to let go of. Go through your wardrobe and cull anything you no longer wear. Tackle the kitchen cabinets and donate anything that’s not needed. You will feel amazing after all that excess is gone!

What Frugal Ideas For Fun These Holidays do you have? Share them in the comments below so we can grow this list even further 🙂

Need some tips for gift ideas this Christmas? Check out 10 Minimalist Gift Ideas that Add Value to Your Life – Not Stuff! 

Minimalism

10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to Add Value to Your Life, Not Stuff!

With the gift-giving season fast approaching it’s the perfect time to rethink our normal gift-giving practices and adopt new ones. Gifts can help us to show how much we care for a loved one but they don’t have to be things in order to add value to their lives! Even with the best intentions, buying stuff can cause friends and family long-term clutter problems.

There is the guilt associated with receiving an unwanted gift that we have no use for. The worry of where to store or display another gift, that may have been extremely thoughtful but you know that space is severely lacking in your home. There is also the stress associated with buying a large amount of gifts with a limited budget. Not to mention the inner struggle of trying to guess what someone else might need or like when most people probably have everything that they need.

Sometimes the best gifts are not things at all and are just as valuable and useful to us. A donation of time to a family member in need, covering an expense that adds value to our lives or gifting an experience can provide a truly memorable gift that will be remembered long after that new set of tea towels you didn’t even need are forgotten.

If you are looking to simplify your life and holiday gift preparation consider giving a minimalist inspired gift. Here are 10 Minimalist Gift Ideas to add Value to your Life, Not Stuff for your loved one that will hopefully bring a smile to their faces and add value and joy, not more clutter to their lives.

1.  A Gift Card for a consumable
Is there something they need or love? Consider a gift card for a consumable such as a subscription service they love. Examples are Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Netflix, Spotify etc. They can read or listen to their favourite book or have a month of movies and TV shows on you!

2.  A movie gift box.
Let them enjoy a night in or out on you. Include a Netflix gift card or tickets to their local cinema, popcorn, drinks and snacks. Check out this movie gift box for some inspiration.

3.  An experience gift.
Such as ticket to the zoo, aquarium or the observatory. Other options are tickets to a show, game, or to see their favourite band.

4. Offer your time or skills.
Does someone you love need a babysitter, help with doing jobs around the house, someone to teach them to cook? Or simply offer to take them someone special. Sometimes donated time can be the greatest and most helpful gift.

5. Get artsy or crafty.
Put your creative talents to good use. If you are a sewer, writer, singer, painter, photographer, give a personal creative gift to someone special.

6. DIY beauty products.
Unleash your inner beautician with some Pinterest recipes of beauty products for lip balm, bath bombs, facial or hair masks. Some great ones are Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub and DIY Home Made Soap Jellies.

7. Give the gift of food!
Everyone loves dessert, you can’t go wrong with this one! Some ideas are an ice cream box with different ice cream toppings and sauces, a waffle box, home made-brownies or cookies.

8. Their favourite beverage.
Let’s not forget the drink lovers. Cater to your loved ones preference whether that be wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, tea, coffee or hot chocolate!

9. Contribute to their upcoming holiday.
If your friend or family member has plans to go on a holidays in the not to distant future consider giving them money towards their trip to help them saving up for it. Alternatively ask them if there is a tour or attraction they wanted to do on their trip that you could gift them.

10. The gift of no gift giving obligation
Sometimes the best gift of all is simply saying to your family or friends not to worry about a gift. Gifts involve, planning, shopping, wrapping, carting them around on the day not to mention the cost of buying them. Save your loved one the stress associated with hitting the shops, finding a parking spot and managing the chaotic crowds at this busy enough time of year and give them the gift of freedom. Freedom from any obligation to buy you a gift so they can invest their time and money in something more valuable to them. Agree to forgo gifts and just enjoy each others company!

What are your minimalist gift ideas? Have you made any new family traditions around gift giving? Do you and your friends say no to gifts or have you found more creative ways to give at Christmas and other special occasions. Please share your ideas to simplify in the comments below!

 >>Heading off this Christmas season? Check out these 16 Easy Tips To Pack Minimally for Your Next Trip!
Minimalism

16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel

What you pack can have a huge impact on the enjoyment of your travels. Packing with less can ensure an easier, less stressful travel adventure! Photo by: STIL

I’m back! I’ve just spent an amazing month travelling around Europe. It was my second trip there and I tried to soak in every minute of it. Of course every holiday must come to an end and I was quite glad to be home after a month of hauling our bags around from destination to destination.

This trip was a bit different than past travel as we were spending the first leg of the trip with the band doing a couple of shows so had to travel with our guitars as well as our luggage to all destinations. Unfortunately sending our stuff home was not an option. Many dollars were spent on that luggage, carting it across eight flights not too mention much the difficulty of carrying around 8kg backpacks on top of our other baggage. Not to say that we packed excessively but the situation certainly wasn’t ideal.

I looked over at travellers with one small carry on bag and envied them to no end! A man caught my eye walking around at Buckingham Palace with his tiny suitcase. At the same time, I watched people in the check in lines with bag after bag of stuff trying to assess what on Earth they possibly needed to bring in all those bags. (Faroese and Icelanders you are completely exempt your prices are ouch!). I knew where I wanted to be on the packing spectrum!

I was keen to take on the challenge of fitting our stuff into one suitcase for a month in Europe to see how little I could travel with. After travelling numerous times around the world I feel like with each trip I learn to get by with less and less and definitely feel that having less is more.

Here are 16 Easy Tips on How to Pack Minimally for Travel that have helped me keep our baggage minimal and essential.

  1. Use packing cubes to organise clothing.

I have never used these previously but was convinced after watching many packing videos that they were bound to make life on the road easier and more organised. On most trips I have found myself trying to find a sock or pajama top or something that was lost in the midst of my luggage bag, only to destroy the organisation of my bag in order to find said item. With these I could simply take them out and place them in a drawer or shelf and easily find what I needed.

These were a complete lifesaver on our trip. At one point we were over our baggage limit and facing the prospect of open our baggage and go through our unmentionables in view of the line behind us, we simply grabbed one of the larger packing cubes out to hold and voila we were under the baggage limit! They also give you a little piece of mind that if you ever had an issue with your luggage breaking you can easily grab your packing cubes and avert any huge crisis!

2. Use small containers for beauty products, creams etc. 

If you’re anything like me you have a myriad of beauty products that come with bottles of all shapes and sizes. When you are trying to pack these for a trip those large bottles can quickly add weight to your bag and take up considerable space. I love travelling but I am not going to do without my creature comforts.

For the past few trips I have been utilising small containers to help myself pack minimally and reduce the amount of products and large bottles I need to bring. These are great for storing bulky products like night creams, hand creams, moisturisers, toner, exfoliator etc.  They can be found at any cheap shop, grocery store, chemist or online. I particularly love the silicon squeezable tubes that are so easy to use and store a lot more of your product! I now can easily fit my different beauty needs without taking up too much valuable space.

3. Roll your clothing

Rolling your clothing can help you better organise your stuff. It can help you see what you have at a glance rather than piling everything on top of one another. It also helps to reduce your clothes from getting wrinkled. Some believe rolling your clothes creates more space but Tortuga Backpacks suggest that it only moves the space from the sides to the top of the bag. On my trip I personally felt like rolling did make it easier to fit more stuff in so would recommend it. Rolling your socks and packing them into your sneakers or shoes can save some extra space as well!

4. Pack enough clothes for seven days only 

It can be amazing how long you can survive with a small wardrobe! For Europe I packed two pairs of jeans, two other bottoms, a dress, two jackets, a pair of swimmers, two pairs of boots and a pair of thongs and about ten shirts. I thought that that would be a minimal wardrobe but when having access to a washing machine in our Airbnbs I really never got close to running out of clothes. If you have access to a launderette or washing machine or even, just hand wash your clothes as you need them you can help you get away with even less.

5. Pack a capsule wardrobe 

By packing a capsule wardrobe you can pack minimally and ensure that your outfit packing choices can mix and match and give you a range of outfits to choose from. By sticking to 2-3 main colours you can ensure most clothes can be worn with others and increase your options.

6. Review the weather of your destination before packing

On my first trip to Europe I was still new to overseas travel and really had no idea what weather I was in for. I packed a few summery items as we travelled in late September and I figured like our Autumn, it would still be reasonably warm. It wasn’t. I did not think to pack scarves, beanies, gloves or a warm enough jacket and so a lot of my packed luggage went unworn. The same thing happened for Thailand, I packed two pairs of jeans and didn’t wear them after I got off the plan and ended up having to buy a few clothes that were more weather appropriate.

I knew the next time I travelled I would be more prepared! Before you head overseas review the weather forecast for the locations you are going and research on Pinterest what to pack for your destination and the appropriate season. Don’t pack a bag full of things you won’t need and regret leaving the things you will at home.

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits of a Smaller Home

7. Limit shoes 

Where possible limit your shoe selections to 2-3 pairs including a pair of comfy walking shoes. On my first Europe trip we both ended up binning a pair of shoes we had that became increasingly uncomfortable to walk in and ended up buying new ones which isn’t the easiest when you are in a foreign country (and certainly not cheap!). Don’t get carried away trying to bring a shoe for each occasion or outfit. Ideally bring something for walking, something dressier and if necessary something activity appropriate like hiking books or things if you plan to go to the beach.

8. Download Audio and eBooks before you leave home

In the past I would often bring two books to read on a trip. One I was currently reading and another to start when I finished. Sometimes this became bothersome particularly if I didn’t end up reading much on my trip and still had to lug around a book. Give yourself some space and get the Audible or Kindle app before your trip  or OverDrive to save on valuable space without forgoing your reading.

9. Keep make-up minimal

Make up products can easily get out of hand travelling. Stick to your favourite products and avoid doubles. Bring one foundation, one eyeshadow pallete, blush and so on. Just stick to the basics. I found on my trip after bringing a small bag of make up I ended up only using about six items each day. My ideal six were; mascara, eyeliner, BB cream, blush, & an eyebrow pencil with some lucas paw paw ointment.

10. Get a travel perfume/cologne spray bottle

Bringing a bulky perfume bottle can be avoided by buying perfume travel bottles. This also avoids the risk of your bottle being damaged in transit and save you valuable space. (NB: Try and find a quality one, my $2 version leaked on the flight over :()

>>If you want to learn more about minimalism and it’s benefits check out The True Cost of Our Stuff

11. Limit Hair Tools, products and accessories

Pack minimally by not going overboard with the hair stuff. If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb they will most likely provide you with a sufficient hair dryer. Bring the hair straightener if you absolutely have to. You’re on holidays leave the fancy stuff for home!

 

12. Limit your accessories

Keep accessories to a minimum, the last thing you want to worry about overseas is losing a sentimental piece of jewellery. Pick a handful of accessories to bring with you and leave the others at home. Two necklaces, one bracelet, a belt, a watch, one other pair of earrings and a pair of sunnies should be more than enough to accessorise with. Wear one piece and pack the other to limit what is in your baggage even further. I bought two necklaces, a watch, sunnies and a mix of bracelets and that was plenty for me 🙂

13. Use products that double up for other uses

Using Dr Bronners soap can give you one soap for a variety of uses. It can be used as a facial cleanser, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and hand soap to name a few. This can save you bringing many other products or buying any at your destination. Moisturiser can be used as eye make up remover as well as shaving cream. A microfibre towel can be a back up towel as well as a handy tool for drying your washing.

14. Pack clothes that are easy to dry

Where possible pack a few items that can be washed and dried easily to help your clothes dry faster. The quicker your clothes dry the quicker you can be wearing them again.

15. Downsize your handbag and wallet

Before you leave for your trip, clear out your wallet of any receipts, cards etc that you will not be needing. Only bring the essential. Leave your over-sized handbag at home as well and opt for a smaller bag that will be easier to carry day to day. Preferably an over the shoulder ones so your hands can be free.

What are your tips to pack minimally? Do you travel with the same number of clothes for each trip? Share your tips for travelling minimally below in the comments 🙂

 

 

Minimalism

17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Do you buy things frequently on impulse without thought to whether you truly need something or what you will use it for? You might be a mindless consumer.

Consuming is a necessary part of life. We need things to survive and thrive and at other times consuming brings us happiness. We work hard for our money so why shouldn’t we reward ourselves with nice things? This is all fine and life shouldn’t be about constant deprivation, but there is a point when consuming can become mindless consumption  and get out of hand, causing harm that may not be easily identifiable to most.

Have you ever done the following; bought two of something when you only needed one because it was on sale, bought something you saw in a shop without giving consideration to how or where you were going to store it or bought something only to realise when you got home that you already had that item and had just forgotten or misplaced it? These are tell tale signs of mindless consumption. 

Mindless consumption occurs when you buy without thought, usually on impulse. If you mimic these behaviors you might be carrying out behaviour that is consistent with a mindless consumer:

  • You hit the shops regularly, particularly to alleviate boredom to browse the aisles or shelves to see what takes your fancy
  • You spend hours each week at the shops and consider shopping your hobby
  • you buy things on credit because they were not a planned purchase so you didn’t save up in advance in order to purchase the item
  • you buy things just because they are on sale
  • you buy new clothes when you know that you can’t fit the ones you have in your wardrobe
  • you find it hard to stick to your budget or run out of money well before pay day

If you find yourself buying things you don’t need or that you regret on a regular basis you may need to reassess your shopping habits. Mindless consumption can lead to anxiety and stress. Whether it’s from clutter in your home that makes day to day life harder, stress about keeping up with credit card repayments or buyers remorse when you’ve spent money you weren’t supposed to on things you realise you probably didn’t need.

If you want to change the cycle and learn to be a more mindful consumer check out these 17 Ways to Reduce Mindless Consumption in Your Life.

  1. Learn to be content with what you have

A large part of our consumer culture is trying to fit in with the people around us. Whether that be having a newer car, most recent fashion, or the most awesome looking holidays. We often compare ourselves to others we see on social media that seem to have perfect lives, disregarding the true picture. It’s unrealistic to compare our lives with others when we don’t know their financial circumstances. Compare apples with apples not apples with oranges!

When we look at others and what awesome things they may have we need to remember that we don’t their income, what expenses they have, how much they save each week or how much debt they have taken on in order to fund their lifestyle choices. Unless they tell us their most intimate financial details we can’t possibly know and we shouldn’t need to worry as we all have our own financials to worry about. Maybe they earn good money and saved up for their car over a period of years or maybe they are living week to week and bought everything on credit. Comparing our lives to others when we don’t know the full picture gives us an uneven viewpoint and takes valuable time away from our own goals worrying about others.

If you don’t have a new car and are driving your regular old car be content that you can get from A to B and not have a car loan to pay each week. If you’re always wanting the next designer handbag or latest Nike runners you will never find happy. With the current weekly fashion cycle there will always be something new and more in than what you just bought there to make you feel inadequate – if you let it. Step outside of the consumer rat race. Make decisions that will benefit your life and increase your true happiness, not to impress others.

2. Look for happiness in experiences not things

Choosing experiences over stuff can lead to more mindful spending and increase happiness levels. Compare your thoughts and feelings about past purchases versus experiences. When was the last time you reminisced about the $500 designer jeans you bought or the must have new heels that were irresistible? Think back to Christmas two years ago. What did you get? Can you even remember? It’s highly likely that you can’t remember the awesome stuff you got at Christmas or what you bought at the mall but you can remember the experiences you had on your last holiday. That is because the memories we create, and the relationships we form and maintain are more important than the gifts that were exchanged or stuff we bought.

Reduce the focus and value you put on stuff. Having 100 pairs of heels might seem like a dream come true but could you be just as happy with 10 killer heels that you love and a relaxing holiday to explore a new and foreign destination? Instead of spending $100 a week shopping on things you will probably leave lying at the bottom of your wardrobe and forget about, imagine if you had instead saved that money and put it towards an overseas vacations with your family or friends. Or signed up for something that truly bought value and happiness to your life like joining a martial arts class, buying tickets to see your favourite band in concert, or getting those singing lessons you always dream about. These things can bring a whole new level of happiness and growth that can continue to bring contentment well after you’ve lost interest in your new purchases.

3. Get hobbies other than shopping

NY Daily News reported that the average women in America spends 399 hours a year shopping over 301 days. Alarmingly, Adweek  published results of a study by Varsity Brands that identified 80% of 13-18 year old girls listed one of their main hobbies as shopping. There is an increasing trend towards spending more and more of our time consuming.

Hobbies can provide us with many benefits; we can get exercise, learn new skills, develop our creativity, make new friends and find valuable uses for our free time that don’t include work or watching TV. Shopping can become an extremely expensive hobby with very little true benefit. There is nothing wrong with  shopping for things that we need as we need them. But when we shop aimlessly and unnecessary, whilst we are stuck in 4 walls searching endlessly for the next bargain we are missing out on other value adding activities like visiting an Art Gallery, learning a new language, spending time exercising out in nature or doing anything else that might be of interest to you. Not to mention the True Cost of all  that stuff that we walk away with including the environmental impact.

If you find yourself hitting the shops every day or very frequently, consider whether you are investing more of your time then you would like at the shops and consider alternative activities that you would enjoy over your next visit to the mall.

4. Stop shopping socially

If your only plans with friends are to go out shopping together reconsider your catch ups and change them to something more rewarding and less detrimental to your wallet. Consider going out for a coffee together instead or a river walk or join a class together. Find a new social activity to replace the regular shopping expedition. Speak to your friends about your desire to spend less time and money at the shops. You may find that they have been thinking the same thing and you can all help each other with your new found goal to reduce your shopping trips. Or if you really do love shopping with a friend, make sure you bring your list that you have built up an thought about over time to help you stick to your goals of shopping more mindfully.

5. Adopt a capsule wardrobe

Reduce the desire to shop for unnecessary clothing by adopting a capsule wardrobe. When you only have 30 or so of your favourite pieces to mix and match in your wardrobe, you will no longer feel the need to continually shop for more clothing as you will be content with what you have in your own home. You’ll also be more aware of what you do. Having a capsule wardrobe will help reduce the impulse buy clothing as you will always have something you love to wear on any given day. Set yourself a new goal, if you bring a new clothing item home that you need to get rid of something else to limit the temptation to buy something you probably don’t need. As you shop ask yourself what am I willing to donate in order to take this home? This will help you to reduce mindless consumption and help you only bring home what you genuinely need and will use.

 

 

6. Have a wishlist of things you want

Avoid walking into shopping centres with no plan or purpose. If you walk around aimlessly into store after store, you are guaranteed to succumb to temptation and purchase something you really don’t need. Instead of going to the shops regularly and to browse, only go with a well curated list of things that you need. Add to and build your list over time, this will  allow you to reduce your shopping trips and let you buy what you need in one visit. If you can get your shopping done once a week instead of in multiple trips you are going to see the added benefit of time savings, and we can all benefit from that!

7. Wait 24-48 hours minimum before buying anything

To help you resist the urge for mindless consumption it pays to pause before making purchasing decisions. The bigger the purchase the longer you will need to access the decision you are making. Stopping to think before we hand over our cash or cards can help us resist unnecessary purchases that we will regret later. It also allows us time, particularly for larger purchases to check reviews in a relaxed environment, ask friends for product recommendations and to truly think about the item before you part with your cash.

Having time to carefully consider your purchase before exchanging cash will allow you to reduce the number of items you are bringing into our home impulsively and potentially save you thousands each year. When we stop to think we can help reduce mindless consumption. The smallest pause can make a huge difference. Even if you just leave the shop and decide to think about it a bit more before you part with your cash you can always come back to the shop before you leave.

8. Be patient and wait for the right item

Sometimes we can find something close to what we want and by it only to find what we actually wanted soon after. To help avoid this and mindfully consume we need to be patient. Ask yourself what is the ideal item I have in mind for this item I am after? Think about the features you want in it. If it’s a new backpack, maybe you want something that is fold-able, has hidden zippers, a bottle holder, rain cover and is blue. Don’t grab just any bag or the one that is on special. Hold out for the one that you want with the features you need.

I wanted a rose gold necklace and found one that I really liked which was only $4. I was so tempted to put it into my basket but I wasn’t sure if it was what I truly was after. I imagined what necklace I would by without hesitation right now if I saw it and it wasn’t the one I was holding so I put it back. Asking yourself ‘is this something that I will be happy with no matter what other item I found from here’ can help you make the right purchase decision.

9. Declutter your belongings

One of the biggest reasons we are mindless consumers is because we don’t know what we already have. If your wardrobe is overflowing and your drawers are packed full to the point where you struggle to close them it’s highly likely that you probably have forgotten about what you even own. Out of sight out of mind right?

After decluttering over half my belongings, my need to consume reduced drastically. I soon realised what items I bought unneccessarily and what I wouldn’t buy again. I learnt what clothing and shoes I liked and what I didn’t. Decluttering your stuff will show you how little you need to be happy what you can live without. It has the added bonus of ingraining in you how much money you have previously wasted. Every time I sold something for $10 and thought how much money had gone down the drain was a lesson for me to change my old consumer ways! I now know that I don’t need ten pairs of great jeans and that owning three is more than enough and know I never want to revert back to my overflowing chaotic wardrobe of the past. Here’s a list of where to start!

10. Learn to differentiate needs versus wants

The next time you feel the urge to buy yourself something ask yourself is this a need or a want. Learning the difference between the two can be budgetary speaking – life changing. Buying what you want over what you need could mean the difference between a future home filled with endless trinkets and decor pieces, with the stress and time outlay that comes with maintaining your stuff, with a side of sky rocketing consumer debt. Sticking to only buying what you need more often than not can mean achieving freedom from debt much sooner and a life of contentment with only the most valuable items to you.

Maybe instead of buying that lovely aqua vase you can just admire it, accept that it is a lovely piece of decor and acknowledge that you already have a lovely vase at home and there would be better uses for that cash such as saving it rather than buying another decor piece to dust every week. If you ripped your jeans and only have one other pair, then it’s safe to say you probably do need a new pair and you can go out and replace those confident that you are mindfully consuming.

When you adopt a lifestyle of less you will start to appreciate what you do have much more than ever before and feel most content with less as everything you do have will serve a purpose in your life and hopefully bring you joy in some way.

11. Start saving and investing

Some people genuinely don’t have a plan for their earnings and therefore find themselves trying to find more and more things to spend it on. I recently heard a millenial interviewed about housing costs that said that because she couldn’t afford a house there was no point in saving any of her money. I couldn’t believe my ears? Because buying a house seemed  impossible there was no point in saving for anything. When you have no financial goals mindless consuming can quickly become the norm.

When you change your goals from what you want in terms of physical stuff and instant gratification to what your future you want a whole new change of mindset occurs. You will now have a new idea in mind for your hard earned cash. Instead of regularly blowing $200 on an impulse shop you could save or invest that money for the future. Over time watching your savings or investment increase over time will give you an equally awesome, yet guilt-free buzz!

12. Donate and help others

If you have enough cash to hit the shops every single weekend and buy every new gadget as it hits the store shelves, maybe you could consider an equally rewarding use of you cash. Helping others such as donating to charities instead of consuming can give your happiness levels a much longer lasting boost. Consider the joy you feel when buying a new top versus the joy you would feel knowing that you had donated to a worthy cause and changed someone in needs life for the better!

If you have endless time to scourer the mall and aisles, maybe your time could be better utilised volunteering to help others in need. Find a charity that resonates with you and one that you would feel pride helping. Donating our time or money can bring us a much greater sense of purpose and joy.

When we want less, we are able to give more.

13. Say no to debt and buy in cash

There is no greater way to encourage mindful consumption than to pay with purchases in cash. The simple rule is if you don’t have cash then you can’t afford it. Just because after pay is available doesn’t mean it is a good idea. And we all know it is so much harder to pay for something after the thrill of buying it is over.

If you want to truly know if something is worth buying and a mindful purchase, save up for it! Wait whatever time it takes to put that money away for it. Every time you are willing to sacrifice going out for dinner or happy to skip the morning coffee you will know that what you are saving to buy is going to add value to your life and something you are willing to make sacrifices to get.

When you finally buy your item you can truly appreciate it for the hard work you put in and know you can walk away with your new awesome purchase completely debt and repayment free!

14. Borrow or buy things second hand

The next time you are on your way to the shops to buy something ask yourself could I borrow this or buy it second hand? I recently planned to buy an electric sander which was only $80, my thought process was – oh that’s not too expensive, I will just buy it. I then considered whether I could borrow it instead and asked around and managed to borrow one off my step father for free. My last photo shoot I wasn’t sure what to wear and managed to borrow a beautiful dress off my sister in law for the day that cost me nothing! Each of this little changes to buying habits adds up and in time you can return the favour.

Ebay, Gumtree and sites like Craigslist have opened us up to more options for things we need but don’t necessarily need to buy new. By borrowing or buying something second hand we can not only save money, but can help the environment by reusing something rather than having it end up in landfill. Thrift shops are also a great option to find pre-loved items on the cheap.

15. Ignore the catchy sale signs

I used to swoop to those sale racks or tables as quick as anyone else ever did. It’s what frugal people do right, who would pay full price? Maybe so, but it’s only frugal if you are buying something you need, not something just because it is on sale. Often people get caught up in the ‘savings’ and hype of a bargain. If you bought one $50 top and got one free you didn’t save $50 you spent $50. The next time you are at a sale rack ask yourself this:

“If this was full-price would I be willing to buy it”?

If the answer is no, then maybe you are just buying it because it is on sale and you need to reconsider your decision. If your answer is a resounding yes that would show that you have made an informed decision and found the perfect item, ideally an item that you love, that sparked joy and fit perfectly and made you feel great. When you stop buying things just because they are on sale you can start buying what you really want – even if it is full-price – as long as you are sure that it is what you truly want rather than just a spur of the moment decision.

16. Educate yourself on waste and the impact on the environment 

By educating ourselves we can open our eyes to the negatives of our consumer culture and mindless consumption and it’s impact on the environment. ABC’s War on Waste recently reported that Australian’s are disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every ten minutes. Being aware of our environmental impact can help us make better decisions. Sometimes we need that extra nudge to kick us into action and make changes to our consumption behaviour.

When we realise that our purchasing decisions can make an impact on the environment or other people or animals lives that can aid us to make more mindful consumption choices. When we see the level of waste that occurs we might think a little bit more about each purchase. It could be a simple decision to buy more quality, timely pieces that last longer rather then cheaper pieces that end up in landfill in 12 months time or after a season.

17. Learn to value your time

One trap of the consumer culture is that we all seems to lose sight of the value of time. We are all so focused on getting more and more money and more and more stuff and forgetting our most important resource – time. A resource that we can never get back.

Think back to all those hours you spent shopping. Whether it be at the mall or online, or browsing Amazon. Not to mention the time spent in traffic getting to the shop, the time spent waiting in line or to try those clothes on. Think of what you could have done instead with all that time! Was everything you bought last year worth the time you spent earning it? Or even everything you have ever bought? I am certainly no stranger to wasting money on things I didn’t need and that I eventually regretted buying. In order to assess this it can be helpful to calculate our purchases in hours, that is the time taken to earn the money spent as opposed to dollars.

As an example, you earn $20 an hour and want to buy a new handbag for $120. That handbag is also costing you 6 hours. So the total cost is really $120/6 hours. Does this change your decision? In order to mindfully consume we need to take into account the whole picture for each purchase. Not just the cost to our wallet but the time lost. When you take both into account the cost seems a little less ideal – even if it is on sale! This isn’t to say that nothing is worth our money and we should never buy anything and just hoard our money but considering the time cost goes a long way to helping us make more mindful consuming decisions.

What helped you to become a more mindful consumer? What tips to you have to limit impulse purchases that might be helpful to others? Please share your experience and tips 🙂

 

Minimalism

5 Lessons I Learned from my Capsule Wardrobe

When picking your capsule wardrobe aim for comfortable, versatile pieces that you love and you'll never feel the need to go back to a packed closet again

For some time now I have been attempting to adopt a more streamlined, thoughtful and less excessive wardrobe. This June I decided to make it official and adopt a 30 items capsule wardrobe for the June to August winter months. I didn’t want to make it too onerous so I limited the 30 items to clothing, and excluded, jewellery/accessories, underwear, gym and lounge-wear.  

We’re four days into spring and after three months of living my capsule wardrobe I thought I’d reflect on the process of choosing my capsule and what I learned and do a Winter Capsule Wardrobe update!

Here was my breakdown of my Winter Capsule Wardrobe:

Shirts – 9

Long sleeved shirts – 6

Coats, Jackets – 3

Jumpers/Cardis – 2

Pants – 5

Skirts – 1

Scarves – 1

Shoes – 3

Total clothing pieces 30  

WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY CAPSULE WARDROBE

Here are my main take aways from adopting a capsule wardrobe this past season:

1. You need less clothing than you think you do
I’ve previously tried to limit my clothes to a reasonable number but never gone through the process of setting a limit. I was surprised after three months that I managed to stick to a 30 item wardrobe and had 4 items still left untouched over that time (see the backwards hanger method for how I monitored this).

In three months using a capsule wardrobe, I managed to wear only 26 items of the 30. I was really amazed that I didn’t need a huge number of clothing. I never felt like I was too restricted and was wearing the same clothes over and over again. If anything, I felt like I had more variety than ever as I knew everything I had hung up in my wardrobe was wearable, comfortable and that I loved it. The fact that I could easily see everything in my wardrobe and grab it with ease was a bonus! 

2. Think ahead and be selective about what you pick for the season

A couple of weeks into my winter capsule wardrobe I realised I had a few too many cooler shirts in my capsule that just weren’t cutting it in the warmth department. Particularly as my 30 items had to be suitable for working in an office (which is freezing most days, am I right ladies?). So I decided, in order to ensure the success of my capsule wardrobe and my survival of winter (…okay that was a slight exaggeration) to swap in some warmer long-length shirts whilst removing some of the short sleeved tops during the first couple of weeks. I ensured I still stuck to the 30 piece goal I had set myself.

Towards the end of the period I had some more formal events including a bridal shower and wedding which I hadn’t really accounted for in my winter capsule wardrobe as I don’t normally like to wear dresses in winter, so had to expand my wardrobe to include something a bit dressier for those two occasions.

I’d managed to get through 10 weeks with my regular capsule, but realised in the last two that I hadn’t catered for any more formal events in my capsule.

Try and think ahead about what clothing you will need for the three month period. Do you spend your time in an office, or do you work from home? Do you do yoga every day and live in yoga pants or are you in court for work and need something more dressy. Do you go clubbing most weekends or spend them mostly indoors or in the garden. Try and map out what clothing suits your needs and allocate a percentage of the type of clothing you need for different activities in the week. It could be 60% work, 20% loungewear, 10% gym wear, 10% dressier occasions. Pick your outfit ratios according to the relevant percentages for your lifestyle.  

Bonus tip: Note down what you had in your seasons capsule so if you mix and match pieces across the seasons you will know what to grab when that season rolls around again.

3. Having a capsule wardrobe saves you time and stress

Each morning I knew in seconds what I would wear to work or out for dinner that night. Having less clothes in rotation and selecting easy to maintain clothes meant I didn’t have to waste more time than necessary on washing, folding or ironing them.  

A capsule wardrobe also has other time and stress benefits. I wore a dress I have worn a few times to a wedding last week and got many compliments on it. Barely anyone at that wedding had ever seen me in that dress so it would have been silly to feel self-conscious to re-wear it. Had I been afraid to wear a dress more than once I would have had to not only spend unnecessary money on a new one, but would have had additional time and stress trying to find the perfect dress for the wedding.

4. Having a capsule wardrobe helps you to reduce clothing expenditure
Thanks to my capsule wardrobe I felt less of a desire to go clothes shopping as I knew that for the current season I had everything I needed. Every time I thought of buying something new I had to think would I be willing to get rid of something in my capsule for this new item? Pretty much every time the answer was no. I knew I had something I liked more that had been tried, tested and paid for already at home.

The capsule wardrobe also helped me to avoid the shops unless I had something specific in mind that I needed. As I knew that I could only have 30 items in my capsule wardrobe I made sure that any purchases were quality items that I loved, and felt comfortable in and would get a lot of wear out of them. Check out what I did buy below.

5. Your capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be perfect

From this experiment I realised that there was no perfect capsule wardrobe. Through all my efforts of selecting versatile pieces that were comfortable and that I loved, there were still instances where I had to make changes some slight changes. There are no awards for perfection, keep your capsule expectations realistic. 

Whether you have a capsule wardrobe of 30 items or 40 the key is selecting the right number and pieces to suit your lifestyle and needs. At the end of the day any capsule wardrobe is a huge step on the path to more intentional life and will help you reduce the excess in your life. The benefit of this being less stress, less decision making, less spending in your clothing budget or a reduction in your need to shop unintentionally.

 

If you would like to know more about Minimalism and it’s benefits check out 13 Benefits or a Smaller Home and How  I Discovered Financial Stability Through Minimalism.

WHAT DID I BUY?

One of my goals of having a capsule wardrobe was to reduce my desire to buy more clothes to be content with what I had. I am pleased to say that I achieved this for the most part. Over the past three months I did make a few clothing purchases that I felt were necessary. Although I didn’t avoid buying clothes all together over this period, I was pleased that my clothes shopping became much more intentional and thoughtful. I only replaced or purchased things that I specifically needed and could get a lot of use out of. 

Here is a list of what I bought:

  • 2 Jackets
  • 3 Thermal singlets
  • 2 Thermal long sleeved tops
  • 2 Thermal leggings
  • 2 Pairs of thermal socks
  • 2 Long sleeved shirts
  • 1 Scarf

My criteria for these purchases were:

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Are they good quality?
  • Do they feel comfortable to wear?
  • Can I get a lot of use out of them?
  • Are there online reviews that recommend this particular item?

I made sure I tried everything on first to check for comfort and fit (except the socks of course :p). My shopping policy is – if I am too lazy to try it on I can’t buy it policy – which also helps me avoid any impulse decisions and saves me having to return anything I buy that doesn’t fit. I try to, where possible, read reviews online, and reviewed travel blogs about what to wear in particular climates and locations as all of the items purchased I would be able to wear during my upcoming Europe trip. A lot of what I bought was on sale and all were quality items.

Most of these items purchased were external to my capsule. I felt that my 30 item capsule other than a few minor additions was more than enough for my needs which helped me to resist making impulse clothing purchases. I look forward to continuing on with my capsule wardrobe and monitoring my clothing purchases over the next few seasons and see how my clothing purchases will be impacted in the long term!   

If you would like to start your own capsule wardrobe check out How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe: A Beginners Guide for tips on how to pick and check out my Pinterest board for Capsule Wardrobes for inspiration.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Would love to hear what you have learnt from your experience with having a capsule wardrobe and how many items you feel is ideal in yours. Leave your experience in the comments below 🙂

 

Minimalism

How to Build A Capsule Wardrobe: A Guide For Beginners

Building a capsule wardrobe can be a great way to limit stress in your life. By picking a well-curated selection of 30 items of clothing in your capsule that you love, you can ensure you look stylish, and feel great each day with minimal effort!

A few years back at the beginning of my Minimalism discovery I came across the term Capsule Wardrobe. I’ve never been what you would consider a fashionista. My wardrobe normally consisted of jeans and a hoodie and band shirt. My friend and I used to laugh with our thrifty-ness of making old clothes last beyond their years through any means possible. If there was a way to be fashionable, and coordinate an outfit without much thought going into it, this was going to be a game changer for me.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, okay… a lot of Pinning more specifically. Whenever I talk wardrobes with people and mention the concept of a capsule wardrobe I’m often surprised to hear that most people have never heard of the idea. Which is a something I am hoping to change. Read on for how to create your own capsule wardrobe!

THE BENEFITS OF A CAPSULE WARDROBE

Before we start our capsule wardrobe we must understand the benefits. Here are the benefits I have personally found:

  1. Having  a capsule wardrobe means it is less stressful to get ready. It is one less time consuming decision to make during your day so you can focus on more important or enjoyable things like spending time having your morning coffee.
  2. Having all your clothes in one area makes it easier to mix and match your outfits. A well curated capsule wardrobe means that your outfits easily work together and items that suit your lifestyle which in turn leaves your feeling more confident.
  3. It saves you time on your laundry. If you have a capsule of 30 items, you will probably only have one load of washing per person per week. This avoids the dreaded mountain of unwashed clothing that comes with your average wardrobe!
  4. You can feel comfort knowing that everything in your capsule has been hand picked by you and are items that you love. No more walking out the door only to realise the pants you grabbed don’t fit anymore or are uncomfortable.
  5. It will save you money. When you have 30 or so items that you love you feel less of a need to continually hit the shops trying to find the perfect outfit when you have a perfectly amazing wardrobe at home!
  6. It is better for the environment. Fast fashion has created 6000kg of clothing and textile waste every ten minutes in Australia. By choosing to adopt a capsule wardrobe you are helping to reduce the clothing ending up in landfill by only buying quality, loved clothing pieces and being more mindful of what you buy.
  7. Despite what you may think having a capsule wardrobe is less boring and more creative as each day you get to create a new outfit mix, rather than picking the same old items in your overflowing wardrobe.

Now that we understand the amazing benefits of adopting a capsule wardrobe we can get started!

WHERE DO I START?

Before you make a start on your capsule wardrobe you are going to need to identify what you want in it. This involves going through your current wardrobe and decluttering and only keeping what you love or in Kon Mari’s words what “sparks joy”. These steps will help you get your decluttering started:

  1. Prepare your working area. Make the bed as a clothing work space, grab a few boxes, containers – whatever you have and label them with the following 4 signs; Keep, Toss, Donate, Mend.
  2. Take all your clothing, all of it, and lay them out on the bed. Grab anything in your washing baskets so you can ensure you haven’t missed anything. If you are someone that only has small pockets of time to declutter you can do this by category such as shoes, shirts, dresses and so on until you have gone through each category. This will make the process slower but is better than not doing it at all.
  3. Next pick out the items that you love and wear on a regular basis from your pile. Put the “love” items into the container marked keep. It is often easier to choose what we love than what we don’t so is helpful to start with the ones you know you wear and love first.
  4. Go through your pile and put anything you don’t like, or don’t wear anymore in to two separate piles. One to be donated, any items that are still wearable. One to Toss, for anything else that is not in good condition. If you have the time and energy, you can also put some of the more pricey donate items into a pile to be sold to add some extra cash into your budget.
  5. If there is anything that you love, but that needs repairing put this into a separate ‘mend pile’ and action these in the next week or so. If they need a new button sew it on, if you need to take it to the professionals put them in your car to take to your alteration store.
  6. Continue to work through your pile until you have sorted all items.

If you are left with anything you are unsure about, I call these the “Maybe”pile you can do the following:

  1. If you are not yet ready to part with items in this pile you can place the items in a container to be stored out of your closet for a short period of time. I recommend no more than three months.
  2. Set a reminder on your phone to review the container once the time limit is up. If you find you do want to use something you’ve stored away, you can go and ‘save’ it.
  3. After three months donate the items in the container. Generally after three months you will realise that you don’t miss the items you stored anymore and don’t need them and be willing to let it go.

>> Check out  9 Decluttering Methods For Your Home for extra tips on methods you can use to declutter your wardrobe and home.

After this process you will now be ready to curate a capsule wardrobe from your newly minimised wardrobe.

 

Mix and match your favourite colours in your capsule wardrobe. Picking 3-4 colours can make styling different outfits much easier.
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

 

CLOTHING TO SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE

It is important to be honest with yourself and what you wear day to day. Are you really going to wear that old bridesmaid dress again? Do you own 5 pairs of short shorts but never wear them? Do you have clothing that needs ironing which you haven’t ironed in six months? This wardrobe is designed for your lifestyle now.

Pick what you love to wear now, what you feel comfortable in and what suits your lifestyle. If you work in an office that might mean more button up blouses, if you are a yoga instructor you might only own one button up blouse and 10 gym outfits. Curate the capsule wardrobe for your present needs.

To make your capsule flow day to day, try and pick a colour theme. Basing your wardrobe around three to four colours is ideal. For example, if your wardrobe is made up of black, white, grey and blue you can mix and match these colours effortlessly. Of course feel free to pick whatever colours you love, it’s your capsule 🙂

CAPSULE WARDROBE RESOURCES

Check out Fashion Youtubers such as Lindsay Albanese for tips on How to Flatter Your Body Issues With Clothes to help you pick the right clothing choices for your capsule or watch Jennifer L. Scott’s Ten Item Wardrobe TEDx Talk for tips on where to start with picking the core items for your capsule wardrobe.

My favourite Capsule Wardrobe blogger Courtney Carver’s Project 333 is a great starting point for your capsule wardrobe. Courtney started blogging about her wardrobe of 33 pieces including accessories and shoes in 2010, in which she picks a capsule wardrobe of 33 items including clothes, shoes and accessories for 3 months and changes them out each new season.

 

Take the Minimise With Me 21+9 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge!

 

MWM 21+9 CAPSULE WARDROBE CHALLENGE

After researching into different capsule wardrobe options, I decided to come up with my own capsule wardrobe challenge. After considering my wardrobe needs I came up with the following:

Two capsule wardrobes that can blend together to fit different areas of your life:

– a 21 item wardrobe for your non-work, everyday life and

– a 9 item wardrobe for work

I don’t wear my work pants or all of my work tops on the weekends, but I do mix and match things like my scarf, some of my tops and coats/jackets so I came up with having a capsule for work and non-work occasions that is still inter-changeable so I can wear pieces for both work and outings but not have my main wardrobe taken up by pieces I only wear to work.

What is excluded: In my capsule wardrobe I exclude pajamas, gym clothes, lounge-wear, swimmers, underwear, singlets or thermals, and accessories.

I feel that buy the time you add in a couple of necklaces, a belt, sunnies, a scarf, a watch and bracelet to your capsule, a lot of your capsule wardrobe limit is taken up so I wanted to be free to mix and match accessories and not focus too much on those limitations within my capsule. By all means don’t go crazy buying 10 belts and 15 pairs of earrings for yours but allows some variety!

The goal is to limit your decision making and stress! My necklace collection is probably larger than others, but as I do wear what I have, I wanted to ensure my capsule didn’t restrict the freedom for me to do that.

What is included: Include all other clothes – pants, tops, dresses, shorts, skirts and so on as well as your shoes.

BUILDING YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

Grab a pen and paper and create a list for your capsule wardrobe. Start with the numbers 1-21 on a piece of paper for your every day wear and 1-9 for your work wardrobe. Create a blend of items from your new wardrobe of ‘loved’ pieces. Pick ones that are suitable for the season you are going to be in for the next three months. An example of my current winter capsule wardrobe is:

Everyday Capsule (21 items)

Shirts – 10
Coat/Jacket/Jumpers – 4
Pants – 3
Skirts/Shorts – 1
Shoes – 2
Scarf – 1

Work Capsule (9 items)

Work pants/skirts – 2
Work shirts – 5
Long cardi – 1
Shoes – 1

Once you have your 30 items hang them up in your wardrobe and box up the remaining items to be reviewed next season. Don’t go and fill your wardrobe with new clothes now that you have more space unless you are missing key pieces or want to swap out items in your capsule.

WHAT IF 30 ITEMS IS JUST TOO LIMITED FOR MY LIFESTYLE

If you find 30 items too difficult to get to, aim for close to that. Go up to 35 or 40 items and see if that can work for you. You might find you don’t need the extra items after all or even if you do, you’ve at least come a long way from where you were previously with a bulging wardrobe.

REVIEWING YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

In order to check what you have and haven’t worn without much thought, use the Backwards Hanger Method. Turn all your coat hangers backwards when you start your capsule wardrobe and put worn items back the regular way when they are washed. At the end of the month you will easily be able to see what you did and did not wear. This will help you to make decisions on what to keep in your capsule for the next season and what to donate.

At the end of the three months, check what you did and didn’t wear and alter your wardrobe accordingly.

KEEPING YOUR WARDROBE MINIMISED

A good rule of thumb to avoid getting carried away and refilling your newly minimised wardrobe is to implement a one, one out rule. This rule requires you to donate one item for every item of clothing you bring into your home. It will help you resist the urge to buy something unnecessary when you have to think about what  you are willing to get rid of in place of it.

For more ideas on building your capsule wardrobe check out my Minimise With Me Building a Capsule Wardrobe board on Pinterest for some inspiration. 🙂

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Let me know how many items you find works for you in the comments 🙂